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Challenges continued from page 119


payment systems are a possibility. Many technology innovators envi- sion a day when consumers will fi ll their carts with items from a retail store and walk through the store exit without stopping to pay. They will not be shoplifting, they will simply be utilizing an automated system that reads RFID tags at- tached to every item, calculates the total, and charges a credit card or bank account the appropriate amount. No more lines. No more scanning. No more price checks. A seamless and instant transaction will make checkout a breeze. This is where some feel retail


is headed in the future. Between now and that time, new technolo- gies will come and go, opening new windows of opportunity for theft, fraud and loss. Yet the precise ways in which shrink will manifest itself is often revealed only with time and experience. This presents a challenge to loss prevention (LP) professionals who are already grappling with the best way to eliminate dozens of other sources of shrink. Regardless of the technology


being adopted, the best practices are simple. In order to maximize the opportunity, LP professionals must evaluate new technology, an- ticipate challenges, and mitigate risks. Retailers should follow a few basic steps: 1) Test in the lab, not the


store. Before rolling out new tech- nologies in stores, retailers should test them in a lab. Many larger retailers maintain these labs in- house, but organizations such as the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) also provide con- tained environments for testing technologies, their impact on cus- tomers, and pitfalls they may face in a retail environment. A bit of knowledge can help LP profes- sionals evaluate the impact of a new technology and recommend tactics for implementation that may reduce losses that would otherwise wreak havoc across live stores and real customers. For example, electronic article surveillance (EAS) was once a technology highly valued for its continued on page 125


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